Prayer Tips

Prayer is one of the toughest disciplines for me. I found this helpful guide for prayer in the booklet “Jesus’ blueprint for prayer” by Haddon Robinson. Maybe, you will find it as helpful for you in your prayer life.

Haddon uses the Lords prayer and breaks in to two halves. The first half of the prayer talks about praying about the “Father”.

  • The “person” of God: “Your name”….Praise his attributes. He is holy, good, just, all-powerful, all-knowing,…
  • The “program” of God: “Your kingdom”…Pray for his work to be done.
  • The “purpose” of God: “Your will”…Pray for his will to be done for his glory.

The second half of prayer talks about praying for the family of God.

  •  Pray for the “provision” of the family of God: “Give us”…asking for basic needs for you and your friends and family.
  • Pray for “pardon” of your sins:  “forgive us” First John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  • Pray for “protection”: “lead us”..If needed, pray for protection for you or your family.

 Matthew 6:9-13   
9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.  
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.  
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

Remain Close to Jesus

In the setting of an agrarian society, Jesus uses a very easy agricultural illustration to help the disciples understand his truths. Jesus uses an illustration of a fruit producing vine (grapevine) to show how the disciples must be rightly related to Jesus. The idea is that they should remain close to Jesus if they want to produce fruit that glorifies God.

Jesus made his final “I am” statement, declaring that he is the true vine. A vine gives it’s branches nutrition and productiveness. Jesus is portraying himself as a vine and his disciples are considered the “branches.” As a “branch”, his disciples would receive Jesus’ divine strength, his unbelievable joy, and long lasting fruitfulness as long as they remained close to Jesus. 

We had recently purchased a little farm in the country. There was many grapevines already there. The one that I started to nurture was on a fence in our garden area. It ran up to the top of the fence and teed off each direction 25′. As summer came, it was beautiful with all of the buds and the promise of a lot of grapes. The grapes never even got as big as a pea before they dried up. The branches continued to grow longer and the leaves were beautiful, but no fruit was harvested. After doing some research, I found out that grapevines must be pruned to have a nice fruit harvest. Instead of letting the branches to grow as long as it wants, they continually need to be pruned back to the main vine. 

On a typical grapevine the main vine (trunk) comes up sometimes around three to five feet and tees off and the branches extend from the tee somewhere around four to six feet. The branches are pruned back to keep it close to the vine. Since the branches stay close to the vine, they receive more nutrition which produces larger, more impressive clusters of grapes. If you have ever seen a grapevine up close that is loaded with grapes it is a beautiful sight. 

Jesus tells his disciples in John 15:4-5 to:

“Abide (remain) in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

If you want to produce fruit that glorifies God, 
Remain close to Jesus, because away from him we can do NOTHING.

Sometimes we think that serving and doing things is producing fruit for God. It can be (and should be), but if you are running off doing your own thing without God’s direction, you could be just like my 25′ branches on my grapevine that looks pretty, but are unfruitful.
Be like the picture above, showing how the branches are close to the vine drawing everything that they need from the vine. 

According to the text, there are three things that will come from Remaining close to Jesus:

1. Effectual prayer: 
  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

We all have heard this verse used out of context and for personal gain, but as your heart is close to God’s heart, you will be praying for the things that God wants. 

2. Continual (long lasting) fruit:
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:8 

When we produce godly fruit, the people around us see it and God is glorified by it.

(The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control;…  Galatians 5:22-23)

3. Unbelievable Joy:
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. John 15:11

No matter the outward circumstances, there is inner happiness and peace that only God can give. 

Remain close to Jesus 

Cattle For Sale

I ran across this story from a website with sermon illustrations. They pulled it from “Today in the Word, MBI, January, 1990, p. 36″

“In its early days, Dallas Theological Seminary was in critical need of $10,000 to keep the work going. During a prayer meeting, renowned Bible teacher Harry Ironside, a lecturer at the school, prayed, “Lord, you own the cattle on a thousand hills. Please sell some of those cattle to help us meet this need.” Shortly after the prayer meeting, a check for $10,000 arrived at the school, sent days earlier by a friend who had no idea of the urgent need or of Ironside’s prayer. The man simply said the money came from the sale of some of his cattle!”
Matthew 6:5-8 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Genie in a Bottle

Solomon had made a peace treaty with pharaoh king of Egypt by marrying pharaoh’s daughter. He understood that a pagan queen should not be with the Ark of the Covenant (at David’s palace), so she was brought to the City of David instead. A Canaanite tradition of sacrificing in the mountains (to be closer to their gods) was practiced by everyone, including Solomon. Solomon wanted to show his love for God by living his life like his father David did, but he continued to sacrifice like the pagans did. The Lord appeared to Solomon at night in a dream and offered him one wish. Solomon did not have a selfish heart and he realized his inexperience as a leader (only 20 years old), so he asked for a discerning heart to govern God’s people. Really what he asked for was a heart tuned to the voice of God. You know the rest of the story. God gave him a discerning heart, plus power, riches, and a chance for long life if he obeys God’s word. The interesting thing is how God’s blessing brought him closer to God. He turned from the high place to the appropriate place to sacrifice (stood in front of the Ark of the Covenant). The sacrificed burnt offerings expressed the complete dedication of himself to God. To show his joy and gratitude, Solomon gave a feast for his whole court.

If you had one wish, what would it be?
I thought about that and then I realized my selfishness within me and how my heart is not in tune with God like I want it to be. I was wishing for my own desires. I came up with a list of material possessions a mile long. (So I guess I don’t have to worry about God asking me for one wish).
Something that I want to make clear is that God is not a genie in a bottle as many claim him to be. The prayers that go with that mentality are selfish and they’re not looking to what God’s will is, but your own. What I would want you to get out of this is how Solomon loved God by walking according to God’s word. As the Lord convicted Solomon, he quickly changed his ways because his heart was now tuned into God’s voice. Because of God’s blessing, Solomon dedicated himself to God and now is walking even closer to God than before.